Chinatown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chinatown Reviews

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Top Critic
Don Druker
Chicago Reader
March 27, 2009
Polanski's film suggests that the rules of the game are written in some strange, untranslatable language, and that everyone's an alien and, ultimately, a victim.
Tony Macklin
February 1, 2009
Is Chinatown the best private eye film ever? It may well be. Nearing its thirty-fifth anniversary, it deserves a reconsideration and a celebration.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.0/5
Brian Holcomb
May 2, 2008
Beyond all the "masterpiece" rhetoric, this is actually a great movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Jeremiah Kipp
Slant Magazine
November 8, 2007
The exhaustive, labyrinthine narrative is built up like a fortress around this film's bitter heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Jason Zingale
November 3, 2007
A film that truly defines the term classic.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Emanuel Levy
August 27, 2006
Jack Nicholson's small-time detective Jake Gittes, like other noir heroes, suffers from a shadowy past and fears: For him, Chinatown is not just a place, but a spiritual landscape and a melancholy, fatalistic state of mind.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic

Time Out
February 9, 2006
The hard-boiled private eye coolly strolls a few steps ahead of the audience.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.5/6
Boo Allen
Denton Record-Chronicle
November 11, 2004
Brilliant filmmaking. Polanski's direction of Robert Towne's script makes a masterpiece.
| Original Score: 5/5
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
October 29, 2004
One of Polanski's stronger directing efforts.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Steve Crum
Kansas City Kansan
October 14, 2004
Superbly crafted Polanski.
| Original Score: 5/5
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
May 31, 2004
One of those rare films where it's difficult to find flaws even if you're looking for them.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
April 1, 2004
Arguably Hollywood's finest noir thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
January 22, 2004
A modern classic that stays true to private eye-movie conventions while digging way, way, deep underneath them.
| Original Score: 5/5
Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
December 1, 2003
classic noir
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jessica Winter
Village Voice
August 5, 2003
In 1974 a director, a screenwriter, and a producer (Robert Evans, who for once deserves a few of the plaudits he's apportioned himself) could decide to beat a genre senseless and then dump it in the wilds of Greek tragedy.
Top Critic
Vincent Canby
New York Times
May 20, 2003
A new private-eye melodrama that celebrates not only a time and a place (Los Angeles) but also a kind of criminality that to us jaded souls today appears to be nothing worse than an eccentric form of legitimate private enterprise.
| Original Score: 5/5
Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle
March 10, 2003
Polanski is in top form here directing this detective noir throwback set in 1930s Los Angeles.
James Rocchi
November 7, 2002
Chinatown incorporated themes from two eras, but the result is a film for the ages.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
February 24, 2002
It takes a Herculean effort to transform this type into a character and to replace the formula with a story, and Chinatown's success in both of these regards is one of the reasons it is universally viewed as a classic.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Edward Margulies
November 6, 2001
Dunaway plays Evelyn as a woman starved for, as well as terrified of, intimacy. The fleeting hints of warmth and decency build our subconscious faith in her innocence, while the facts keep pointing a finger.
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